The CW premieres The Tomorrow People on October 9, reviving a franchise that began 40 years ago in the United Kingdom. The new version of the series comes from executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), Phil Klemmer (Chuck), and Danny Cannon (Nikita), and at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, we spoke with Klemmer and Cannon about bringing back the popular institution…. starting with the notion of whether or not there is pressure to live up to meeting expectations from fans of the original series.
“There are no obligations,” Klemmer, who wrote the pilot, admits. “It’s really a question of inspiration. It’s not like it’s so well known here in America that we’re doing something that’s somehow so precious that we’re going to be lambasted for changing a small thing. I think the sky is wide open. Our obligation is to honor the dreams of when people saw it, and what it meant to them, and for me, who saw it as an adult, it’s a good balance, because it’s fresh eyes, and figuring out how to update it, and hopefully create something that’s designed for an older audience, but to touch people the way the original did,” he says.
Klemmer may not have seen The Tomorrow People until his adult years, but Danny Cannon, who is directing the series’ first two episodes, was most definitely a fan of the original show. “Watching as a kid, it felt like people down the block. It felt like people I knew. I related to the characters. They were everybody. There were no leotards. There was no special weaponry. It was literally feet on the ground, normal people who were alienated at first, and then found out that it was a special gift,” Cannon said about what made the original series special.
Original series fans should be happy to know that nods to the classics are definitely being thought about. “Absolutely,” Klemmer says when asked about original series nods. “It’s awesome to imagine the 1% of the television audience [who will get it]. You always want to keep the 99% totally engaged, but that 1%, you’re totally going to blow their minds. It’s such a thrill. I’ve always loved doing that,” he says. Among those nods? TIM, the bio-computer, who will appear in every episode of the show — with Danny Cannon somehow ending up with the job of the computer’s voice, which was originally done as temp dialogue.
“I was in the cutting room, and they needed an English voice, and now I’m TIM. I spoke the way my mother always wished I would speak, as TIM, instead of this ‘North London rebel’ [accent],” Cannon explains about his new additional gig.
The Tomorrow People will be part of The CW’s new “Amell Wednesdays,” premiering at 9PM on October 9.